Coming Soon…PLUS Book Giveaway for Easter!

 

Friends!  Have I ever got exciting news for you!  My website is in the process of getting a whole new look, sans ads (that’s French for NO ADS—PTL), and, it’s about ready to roll.  We will send you one more notice when it’s ready very soon…

While we’re waiting, thanks to my dear friend and mentor, Liz Curtis Higgs, she’s offering as a giveaway, not one, but TWO of her books, The Women of Easter, and The Parable of the Lily!

PLUS, I’m offering a copy of my book, Let’s Be Friends:  What My Sister-Friends Taught Me About Faith, Food, and Fun, along with a lovely box of Godiva chocolate (you know me and chocolate—couldn’t resist) and a cute, purse-size journal from the folks at Spartina of our state of Kentucky. (Notice NO CANE is with me in the photo—walking sorta regularly now after my hip surgery! Another PTL.)

 

 

To enter to win this fun giveaway, please email me (elizabeth.hoagland@icloud.com) and tell me what you and your family are planning for Easter since we’re still isolating?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas and recipes if you’ve got a fun one? Please send your response by Tuesday of Holy Week (April 7th), and we will pick a winner at random and contact you about where we may send your gifts.

In the meantime, stay healthy and safe and prepare to celebrate Easter as best you can.

‘Til next time!

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Bad News: Branches Book Club next Monday the 23rd is cancelled…GOOD NEWS: Don’t miss the page-turner novel (review below) while we’re all inside, and, DO Look Forward to our April 27th Meeting!

Friends! In my wildest imagination, never in a million years, could I have predicted what would be transpiring over the past two weeks. Each day and hour bring changes.  As many of you have reminded us, “Praise God He’s Sovereign and is surprised by none of this.”

Another most gracious-gift from God happened last Monday when I had my right hip replaced.  Had that been this week, it wouldn’t have happened given the surgeries that are being postponed.  The Lord sent guardian angels disguised as nurses and physical therapists last week and this week.  The stories are so uncanny, you wouldn’t believe me unless I told you.  We praise you, Lord.

So, because many churches have been cancelling big gatherings, our Branches Book Club falls under that category, thus we will not meet next Monday the 23rd.  We were to have read Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel.

Don’t miss reading this clever novel!  It’ll give you something to do and will keep you guessing until the last page.

Author Lindsay Harrell was most gracious and made us a video to show at our meeting. Since we’re now cancelled, Nancy Tinnell’s posting the video on our Branches Facebook page. Don’t miss it!

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One of the many reasons this novel grabbed me from the get-go was thanks to the character, Sophie, who decides to get away for the season, dashing across the pond to a lovely area known as Cornwall, England.  Oh, and this gets better!  Sophie has rented an apartment above a bookstore and part of her deal will be she gets to work in the bookstore! Can you dream of anything better?!!!

Both Sophie and the bookstore owner, Ginny, have relationship challenges with their significant others, and we readers get to see firsthand how they learn to deal with them. Their fast friendship is fun to watch, seeing how they bounce ideas off of each other.

Early on, Sophie finds a notebook in the bookstore  which has journal entries from a woman named Emily Fairfax.  Emily was a governess who lived in Cornwall over 150 years ago.

So as not to give away their discoveries, join Sophie and Willam (Ginny’s brother-in-law) and Ginny as they make connection after connection uncovering things you never could’ve predicted. Their thought processes make Sherlock Holmes’ look dim. Oh, and we also get to be in on more than one budding romance…

Author Lindsay Harrel does an absolutely stellar job in toting us readers along with her characters, never knowing what’s around the next bend.  I found the entire journey delightful and didn’t want the book to end.

Checkout Lindsey’s message to us (on Branches’ Facebook page) and we will hope to see all of you at our last meeting of the season, on April 27th (Lord willing), when we discuss Margaret Feinberg’s Taste and See:  Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers.

Prayers for all of you to stay healthy and safe during this COVID-19 situation. While we wait things out, may you and your family savor your time together and perhaps read LOTS of good books!

 As Barbara Bush once said, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal, you will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.”

‘Til next time!

 

 

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If You’re Wondering What to Read Next, Look No Further! (Part 2 of 2)

Friends!  If I didn’t load you up with enough book ideas last week, fear not! I’ve got a few more. These are geared for families…

Our first book is a stand alone, but the second one leads to the third and the author of the third happens to be an endorser for our first selection. (Who’s on first?) Stay tuned…

I confess I bought this first book purely from the cover as I’m obsessed with penguins:

I wanted to jump in the cover, a la Mary Poppins and the chalk drawing in the sidewalk, and follow the Pied Piper, girl, and penguin, also toting a book along.

“Most engagingly conversational” would be my assessment of Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone’s writing.  I love the book because it does two things for the reader:

1 – It shows you why the authors want their book club participants to not just merely read their selections on the surface.  They help you become detectives.

2 – The book also helps you should you be considering starting a book club.   You’ll receive all kinds of ideas and advice. Clearly the Goldstones are experienced and love every single second of their time doing this!

Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook (which we’ll get to in a minute), said of Deconstructing Penguins, “Not just the single best book on leading a book discussion group, it is also about how to dig a tunnel into the heart of a book. In my ideal world, every reading teacher would trash that boring classroom text and adopt this book as a curriculum bible.”

The Gladstones say,

Early into the book, we get to see the Gladstones in action with parents and their children who’ve come to their book club.  Even more fun, the first book they discuss is none other than Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Simply delightful!

Our second book is by a lovely author I learned about from one of Ann Voskamp’s blogposts.  She raved about Sarah Mackenzie who founded the Read-Aloud Revival podcast.  Sarah’s book is called The Read-Aloud Family:  Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids.

Sarah and her husband, Andrew, live in Spokane, Washington with their six kids, so trust me, she knows what she’s talking about in this book!!! We get to learn from her experiments with her own children and see firsthand how reading aloud blessed and hugely benefited their whole family. Her strong, Christian faith overflows in her writing too which is an added bonus.

The book’s divided into three parts.  We watch the experiment unfold, we learn how to ask compelling questions, how to create a book club culture in your own home, etc. and finally we gain huge lists of recommended books, their synopses, all for certain ages.  Invaluable!

Finally, the last two books are by the same author. One happens to be one of a gazillion books my own Mother gave to me.  The author is Jim Trelease and the book Mother gave me is Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud. (Notice it says “edited by Jim Trelease.”)

It includes books in categories, sometimes only excerpts from novels, causing you to want to run out and find the entire book.  He introduces authors, many times telling stories of their upbringing or why they began to write, all of which is as interesting as the actual excerpt he includes! Categories include:  Tell Me a Story!, Tales from Long Ago, School Days, Food for Thought, etc. (There are eight more!)

Jim Trelease is best known for his The Read -Aloud Handbook: Includes a Giant Treasury of Great Read-Aloud Books. (I have the 7th edition, which says, “Now completely revised and updated.”)

This book is so thorough. From convincing statistics in the beginning to over a hundred pages of pure lists of books, age appropriated, succinct synopses, it’s easy to see why Sarah Mackenzie flipped over it and adopted Jim’s strategies immediately.

Pulling these four books out again has renewed my enthusiasm for reading to our grandchildren. I’d totally forgotten that the book my Mother gave me is autographed by Jim Trelease and dated 4-23-96, so John Jr. would’ve been ten years old by then. She must’ve gotten to hear him speak somewhere and had him sign it.  I wish I’d paid closer attention back then!

I’ll stop before throwing any more book suggestions at you (this is the end of Part 2!), before you throw some books at me!  Regardless, you cannot go wrong with any of these and your friends and family will thank you for your efforts.

Psalm 127:3 reminds us, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.” (NIV)

’Til next time!

 

 

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If You’re Wondering What to Read Next, Look No Further…(Part 1 of 2)

Friends!  2020 has found me in three lovely locales of our home on a mission to declutter. (Audible groan.) Problem is I don’t spend enough time, thence the improvement isn’t visible yet.

While on one of these missions, I uncovered a pile of “I didn’t know I had these books?”  So, dear reader, it’s your lucky day as I was elated to rediscover these books!

This week and next, I’ll be sharing snippets for you because you will want to have your own copies or at the very least, check them out from the library to help you with your reading—for yourself, for your children, and for your grandchildren.

This week we’ll unpack two excellent resources by Gladys Hunt.  I’m sad to report Gladys died at the age of 83 in 2010.  But, it’s our grand fortune she’s left us such rich, rich books.  (At the end of the post, I’ll tell you about some of her other books. Today we’ll just discuss two of hers.)

The books?

Honey for a Child’s Heart:  The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life (4th edition with an Annotated List of Books for Ages 0-14) by Gladys Hunt

Honey for a Woman’s Heart:  Growing Your World through Reading Great Books by Gladys Hunt

The title for both books begins with the word, “honey”. This was inspired from Proverbs 16:24 which says,

One of the many things I love about the book for children  is the emphasis Gladys places on family time and how it’s enriched by reading. She offers ways to do this in addition to the incredible age appropriate lists with brief descriptions of the books. She also notes awards the books have won such as the Caldecott Medal, Caldecott Honor, Newberry Award, Honor, and Medal, the Corbetts Scott King aware, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book award.

Regarding her lists, we also learn, “Two chapters list special books considered long-standing classics:  picture book classics and classic children’s novels.”

Gladys says,

Gladys is obviously a wordsmith. She advocates reading not just for our education, but to increase our faith. She adds, “I can’t imagine any pleasure greater than bringing to the uncluttered, supple mind of a child the delight of knowing the many rich things God has given us to enjoy.”

Now watch how she ends this particular paragraph:  “Parents have this wonderful privilege, and books are their keenest tools.”  Yes!

Early into the book, we readers are gifted with a quote from Emily Dickinson from The Poems of Emily Dickinson. It captures the case for reading Gladys is building:

Actual illustrations from various books such as Mary Poppins and Charlotte’s Web, for example, delight our eyes every few pages. They are wonderful windows into these many books!

Gladys’ book for women, “Honey for a Woman’s Heart:  Growing Your World through Reading Great Books,” is equally filled with a wealth of information.  She opens with this from Mark Twain:

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.”

Then we get FOUR reasons we need to dive into this book, the fourth of which is my favorite:

“Fourth, expect books to become ‘ministers’ to your life, to say to you what you need to hear…The books recommended in the chapter on spiritual growth and the ideas for taking the Bible seriously could start a personal revolution!”

Every two to three pages, Gladys has little gray boxes with “extra” interesting topics such as:  “Children’s books I read at adult dinner parties”, “Books that inspire courage in Me” , “Books that touched every sense of my being,” and “Books that propelled me forward on my journey with God,” just for starters.

Don’t miss Chapter 7:  “Honey from the Rock:  Reading the Bible.”  Her love for the Lord is positively contagious and you’ll learn about so many books you probably didn’t know about!  I howled out loud at this recommendation:  The Bible for Blockheads by Douglas Connelly.  Here’s Gladys’ synopsis:  “In the kindest way, Connelly helps increase the reader’s biblical understanding.”

I’m making a list, or two, or ten, of books that sound like must-reads.  I’ll head to the library and see if I can’t look at them first before I jump in and buy them.

When I was corresponding with author Kay Swatkowski about her book, A Grandmother’s Prayers, that I recently wrote about, she told me she used Gladys’ books with her own children and when she was a teacher. She added, “I’m a firm believer that good literature is one of the best teachers for children!”

Here are two more books by Gladys and Barbara Hampton:

Read for Your Life:  Turning Teens into Readers

Honey for a Teen’s Heart

Now you know what I’m about to say, “Run, don’t walk, to your nearest library or bookstore and grab these books!  They’re worth telling all your friends about!”

‘Til next time!

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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Dare We Write it in Cement? Don’t Miss This Extraordinary Love Story: A Severe Mercy—and Join Us for Book Club next Monday, 2/24! (Information at the end of this post.)

Friends! Have you ever seen anyone staring at a mailbox?  I get that.  I’ve done that.

Four weeks before our wedding, with invitations in hand, all addressed and stamped, I remember I hesitated at the mailbox.  “This is it!  No turning back now!”…

Seconds, seeming like hours, passed.  Deep breath.

Whoosh…into the mailbox they went.

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Thirty-three and a half years later, I’m pleased to report, John and I are still happily married and yes, we’ve dared to write many things in cement.  Two of our homes, a former one and our current one, have had charming water-in-the-basement issues. Upon their repair, new cement poured, we trek down the stairs to write something prolific or silly in the cement.

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So why is it, please tell me, so many of us are afraid to make a commitment?  Fear of failure, or pride, perhaps.  “Blame it on today’s culture…” many will say.

Allow me to offer a brief respite.  One  into the blissful world of love.  Young love.  Naive love.   Pagan-turned-Christian love.  So completely-certain-of-love, this couple you’ll meet would one hundred percent  have written their names in cement.

All of the above and more is found in an extraordinary love story, A Severe Mercy , by Sheldon Vanauken.  It won the National Book Award as well as the Gold Medallion Award.  (A dear friend gave me this for Christmas a few years ago and I can’t quit talking about it!!! I’m about to re-read it since it’s Valentine’s month.)

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Along with such bliss, throw in a friendship with none other than author  C.S. Lewis.  You, the reader, will get to read eighteen of Lewis’ letters to Sheldon within the book.  Favorite discovery?  Lewis was quite the crackerjack!  He certainly didn’t fear sharing his brutally honest opinion about anything!  (And for you happy texters out there, Lewis abbreviates a lot, so you’ll have to crack his code.)

How God orchestrates Sheldon’s friendship with Lewis is fascinating.  How God orchestrates Sheldon and Davy’s (her real name was Jean) romance and ultimate marriage is nothing short of breathtaking.

Sheldon’s picturesque writing causes you to ooh and ahh, turning the pages as fast as you can to discover what lies ahead.  I found myself floating along the countryside right with them, almost feeling a breach of privacy in their romance.

Voracious readers, poets, lovers of the sea, and music aficionados, Sheldon and Davy delight the reader with their daily antics.  Their gatherings with friends are festive and intriguing.  Their spiritual path, while comical at times, reinforces how God is so passionate in His pursuit of us.  His painstaking attention to detail never ceases to amaze me.

Our Heavenly Father provides just the right person at just the right time to lead us into His loving arms.  When doubt arises, as it often does,  He brings to mind that special person in whom we may confide.  Watching these scenarios transpire in Sheldon’s life is amazing grace at its’ finest.  Many times Sheldon shares his questions with C.S. Lewis.  Can you imagine having C.S. Lewis as your spiritual mentor?

CS Lewis

Sheldon and C.S. Lewis’ friendship was a gift to both of them, especially in later years.  Believe it or not, both of their wives suffered from terminal illnesses.  They walked these paths together.  Don’t miss their journeys.

C.S. Lewis preceded Sheldon in death.  Sheldon recalls Lewis shouting across the street during their Oxford days, “Christians NEVER say goodbye!  In eternity, there’ll be ‘time enough’!”

Sheldon called C.S. Lewis  “Jack” per Lewis’ pleading.  He added, “And as Jack said, ‘We must talk of a thousand things when you come.’”

Early in their relationship, when Sheldon accepts Christ into his life, he writes to tell Lewis.  Lewis replies, “My prayers are answered!”  Then he issues a warning we’d all be wise to heed:  “There will be a counter attack on you, you know, so don’t be too alarmed when it comes.  The enemy will not see you vanish into God’s company without an effort to reclaim you.  Be busy learning to pray. “

Lewis continues, “Blessings on you and a hundred thousand welcomes.  Make use of me in any way you please; and let us pray for each other always.”  (I’d drop the note like a hot potato if C.S. Lewis offered me his council at any time, wouldn’t you?)

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Prior to Sheldon’s conversion, Lewis closes another letter with, “The Holy Spirit is after you.  I doubt if you’ll get away!” Sheldon confesses to us readers that this time in his life “was getting serious” and he and Davy were a bit frightened.  He says, “Alarm bells sounded, but I couldn’t decide where to run.  The personality of Jesus kept emerging from the Gospels with astonishing consistency.”

You’ll be moved to tears witnessing their faith come alive.  Because of Sheldon’s very open and tender depictions, it feels like yet another breach of privacy.

Sheldon and Davy embraced Philippians 1:21 and Galatians 2:20:

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(Footnote: for an excellent read on To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain checkout this book by Matt  Chandler…)

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Without giving away anything else, I’ll end with Sheldon’s closing words about writing this book.  He said he prayed almost hourly, “that Christ would be in me, and speak through me.”  His prayers were answered…(Also don’t miss how the title came to be.)

He was dumbfounded by the overwhelming responses from readers once the book was published.   Scores told him how much the book meant to them, literally stabbing them in their hearts, making them kindred spirits.  Sheldon said, “Our broader kinship is, I think, we’re all so alone in what lies deepest in our souls, so unable to find the words and perhaps the courage to speak with unlocked hearts, that we do not know that it is the same with others.”  Amen.

“Robert Louis Stevenson said that every book was intimately a letter to friends.”

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I pray each and every one of you dashes out to find and read this beautiful love story.  It’s February, after all.  Love is in the air!  And chocolate is filling the aisles at the stores and most assuredly our chocolate bowl at home!!!

‘Til next time!

P.S.  Load up your car with friends and head to Branches Book Club.  We will be meeting next Monday night, February 24th, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. to discuss a laugh out loud novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. This was a fun discovery of author, Bethany Turner, and the book promises to bring about a lively discussion!  Come join us at Middletown United Methodist Church, in the Connection Center, at 11902 Old Shelbyville Road.  RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502) 245-8839.

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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Add a Side of Community with that Burger: Love for Friends this Valentine’s Week

Friends!  Doesn’t everyone love a good burger every now and then? Our family discovered Five Guys and Fries a few years ago.

Clearly novices, we all ordered cheeseburgers, not realizing that their regular burgers are double burgers. No one complained (!!!) and we were some sweet kind of happy. Peanuts in the shell to munch on, followed by juicy burgers, and a Titanic-sized side of fries….Oh my…

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Fellowship plus great food is the best combo’ you can order. While being with family can be super swell, this week I’d like to talk about the power of COMMUNITY in friendships. In this case, I’m talking about girlfriends, and this Valentine’s week, we can call them “Galentine’s”…

I’m blessed to have a group of friends known as “The Yayas.” Kathy somehow assigned this moniker to us after finding a lovely gold plaque for each of us with this definition: “A group of three or more women whose hearts and souls are joined together by laughter and tears shared through this glorious journey of life.”

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One of the Yayas, fellow dog lover (!!!) named Susan, gave all of us an awesome book a few years ago for Christmas:  Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship by Melanie Shankle. Friends, do not miss this book! You’ll laugh and cry and howl, shaking your head thinking, “I cannot believe she’s sharing this, but I’m so glad she did!!!”

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You can read more about the YaYas in Chapter Two of my new book, Let’s Be Friends.

You don’t want to miss Melanie’s blog, either: www.thebigmamablog.com She serves up “everything from soup to nuts” as my Mother used to say.

Melanie’s book takes us down Memory Lane to show different aspects of her twenty-five year friendship with Gulley. They do life together.

Melanie’s gift of writing draws you in so you feel like you’re in her family room watching it all transpire. (Sidebar: Melanie wrote an equally funny book on marriage.)

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One of a gazillion hilarious antics include Melanie conning Gulley into watching Frozen.  Wait ‘til you read Chapter Four.  Does she love it like most of us???  Not tellin’….

Another fun discovery is Melanie and Gulley realize road trips are one of their ultimate favorite activities. Now they take their children on road trips, all together, and you don’t want to miss these adventures.

The Yayas took a brief road trip a few years ago when Kathy’s daughter got engaged. The Engagement Party was in Columbus and we decided we must, simply must go. It’s not every day one drives two hundred and fifteen point three miles to Columbus, Ohio from Louisville, Kentucky for a party and back.

Lo and behold, we were blessed with one of our Yaya children to accompany us. Translation: Us old chicks snagged a chauffeur. (Poor Megan was pregnant too, God bless her.)

These six sweet-n-special-n-southern Yayas met when our oldest children, now thirtythree-plus years old, were in first grade at Dunn Elementary School. Those were the days.

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(Pictured left to right are Jayne Combs, Denise Seiz, Kathy Daniels, above her is Susan Bugh, then Bev Fleece and finally Yours Truly.)

Who knew we’d attend weddings and funerals together? Even the trials knit us that much closer together.

We’re a picture of Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

There’s beauty and comfort in Community.

The plot blissfully thickens as our Yaya children are having children. No one has discovered grand parenting like the Yayas. Currently five of the six Yayas are grandparents, and we are all the best adopted Great Aunts on the planet. Just sayin’…And, as Melanie and Gulley always tell each other, “Nobody’s cuter than you!”(thence the book’s title), the Yayas are always telling each other, “YOU are the BEST!”

Melanie tells us her book “is about all the friendships we as women develop over a lifetime and the influence they have over who we were, who we are, and who we will become.”

Gulley’s the main friend Melanie talks about, and you’ll love becoming acquainted with Jen and a couple other of her friends. Jen endured a prodigal season, but then shared with everyone how she found her way back to Christ. In doing so, she got Melanie to go with her to a Bible study.

Melanie says, “by watching these people live their lives, I learned what it means to seek God’s will….ultimately they pointed me closer to not only Jesus but also to my dear husband.”

After reading Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Melanie says her favorite part is from Max’ recounting of the Prodigal Son:

Whatever you have done,

Whatever you have become,

It doesn’t matter.

Please come home.”

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Melanie adds, “So I came home. And God, in return, lavished me with a scandalous amount of grace as He filled my life not only with wonderful new friends who encouraged me and loved me, but also brought Gulley right along with me as she began to develop a real relationship with God too.”

Melanie says her five years at Texas A & M were what she needed and clearly what God knew she needed. She said, “God knit my heart together with the people He knew would hold my hands as I walked the path of the Prodigal Son.”

Friends, this is a beautiful visual of Community!

This very week, February of 2020, the Yayas took their first real escape to my favorite place of paradise, Naples, Florida.  While we were only in Naples four nights, we covered a lot of ground, savoring a variety of mouth-watering dishes at fabulous restaurants, also managing to get in a wee bit of retail therapy.  They indulged me and let me drag them out onto the Pier where John and I met many moons ago.  Here are a few highlights:

Meanwhile, cherish your friends and thank the Lord for giving them to you. I always maintain, “Friends are cheaper than therapy.”

 ‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

 

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Calling All Grandparents: We Have a Mission!

Friends!  I’m on my fourth trip of reading thru’ a devotional for grandmothers.  Every single trip thru’, I flip anew over a myriad of pearls of wisdom author Kay Swatkowski shares.

When John and I first became grandparents in May of 2017, my sis-in-love, Margee, gave me this book:

I’ve since given it to countless friends who were also becoming grandparents. And, I have even more exciting news if you’re thinking of someone to give a copy of this book to…Just this week I popped in a Hallmark store and lo, and behold, there was Kay’s book in a beautiful gift-style cover! It’s hardback and the title is in white stitching—exquisite! (Visit your local Hallmark, or I bet you could order it on-line.)

Available at Hallmark.com.

Each entry offers excellent prayer ideas, accompanied by Scripture along with a “think and do” section which almost always offers books for further reading (Kay has cost me a small fortune!), questions to ponder, followed by more Scripture.

Day Fifty-Six’ entry stopped me in my tracks this week.  Kay strongly urges us to consider ourselves our grandchildren’s first prayer partner.  Before they can even pray by themselves, or with you, pray for them faithfully.

Kay says, “Intercessory prayer is a privilege. Bringing a Christian brother or sister’s needs before the Lord is an honor…as great a privilege it is to pray for other believers, it is an even greater honor to pray for our grandchildren.”  And here’s where she got me:  “Imagine the joy of being your grandchild’s FIRST PRAYER PARTNER.” Kay asks, “Could our greatest work be the work of prayer?”

Checkout the below Scripture:

Some days I don’t feel so “fresh and green,” more like tired and worn out, yet notice the verse says we will “STILL bear fruit in old age.” May we take this as our “mission,” to faithfully and daily pray for our grandchildren.  When they’re old enough to realize our efforts, let’s pray they’ll come to rely on us and trust us with their prayer requests.

Yesterday I attended a Bible study at Christ Church Methodist taught by my dear friend and mentor (and therapist!), Liz Curtis Higgs. We spent some time studying a passage where Paul tells us about Timothy and his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, who each taught him about the Lord, giving him a deep, and sincere faith. (See 2 Timothy 1:5)

Liz reminded us that while some of us may never have grandchildren, there are always children in our lives whose lives we may have the privilege of influencing.  She shared how the Lord crossed her path with “foster parents” (whose last names are Foster!). They  poured into her when she was a new Christian and have kept pouring into her all these years. Liz gave us a fabulous quote to ponder:  “Family is God’s workshop here on earth.”

 

Checkout our author Kay’s website. The above picture is of Kay and her husband, Ray. Her website has a little bit of everything! Here are the headers: About Kay, Faith, Food, Fun, Read Aloud, and Everything Else. It’s a goldmine!

2019 was a huge, banner year in our household. John and  I celebrated our thirty-fifth anniversary, and God blessed all three of our sons and daughters-in-love with babies.  Christmas of 2018 found all three of our daughters-in-love pregnant!  We now have four grand angels to pray for…And now, a shameless photo for you:

Pictured left to right:  Charlotte Elise (born 8/30/19), Claire Elizabeth (born 5/9/17), Woodford Lee, Jr., a/k/a “Ford” (born 3/18/19) and Henry Pierce (born 4/22/19)

In this particular entry of Kay’s devotional, she recommends three excellent books (Yes, I have all three and they really are superb resources loaded with pertinent Scripture):

Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson

This is a really cute and clever children’s book:  One Year Devotions for Preschoolers by Christine Bowman

And I love how Kay promotes other books similar to hers yet different:

Grandma, I Need Your Prayers by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock

Let’s close with the prayer from Day Fifty-Six:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the loving Christians who have prayed for us throughout our lives. Their prayers were a gift to us. Father, teach us how to pray so we can be effective and powerful as we bring our grandchildren’s requests to you. Give us sensitivity to their concerns. Teach us to honor their privacy by not sharing their concerns with others. Help us to be consistent in our prayer lives, not only for our own growth, but also so our grandchildren can truly trust us with their requests.  Thank you for the opportunity and privilege of praying for these children. Lord, we want to be their prayer partners. Thank you that we can still be of use to you at this stage of life. May our prayer life keep us young and vibrant in spirit and bearing much fruit for your kingdom. Amen.”

May we endeavor to pray faithfully for these grandchildren as they grow up in our crazy culture.  Let’s also pray for each other while we’re at it!

‘Til next time!

P.S.  If you’re looking for a spring-time Bible study, reach out to Christ Church United Methodist and sign up for The Women of Easter Bible study, taught by the author (of the book of same name), Liz Curtis Higgs.  The classes will meet on Tuesday mornings, March 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  Four hundred of us have loved learning about “Jesus Girls” this month of January and my guess is many of us will continue to come in March!  Please purchase the book prior to the study either via your favorite bookseller, or you may pick it up at Christ Church for a suggested donation of $10. You can either call Christ Church or sign up on-line:  www.ccum.net or 502-897-6421.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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